Big Data Is No Panacea

The NSA, Target data breach and other issues aside, the future of Big Data is bright – so bright that industry experts’ biggest concern is often a lack of skilled people to implement data management programs in organizations. All the digital data gathering trends are on the upswing. Soon your car will tell the manufacturer not just what service is due but also what music you listen to and where you shop as well as how safe a driver you may be. While Big Data generates concern from privacy advocates and is often highlighted in conversations about business ethics, one key consideration that is often overlooked in the frenzy to leverage its benefits is how to use it effectively.

There exists a tendency for marketers to use data for data’s sake – to expect that good information is enough to solve their marketing riddles. It is not that simple according to a Pew Research Trust Survey, “We have had decades of experience analyzing corporate financials, stock exchanges, and market indices, and yet we still cannot predict what will happen next.”

There is still a very big need for judgment … to know when to trust your instincts. Or better yet, when to question that the data was aggregated in a quality manner.

From another Pew Research Trust Survey, “The manpower required to appropriately tag and accurately merge all current data sets is prohibitively excessive. And that doesn’t consider the new data sets being created every day. Consequently, Big Data will generate misinformation…”

In other words, Big Data is only as good as the person interpreting it.

So join the forward thinking organizations that are using Big Data to good effect in both internal and external ways. But also be one of those people who recognize it’s limitations and also when to use judgment as opposed to the numbers – no matter how impressive they may be.

“If you blindly follow the research, you’ll lose.” Steve McKee, Mckee Wallwork Cleveland Advertising in Bloomberg Business Week magazine.

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